Concerns raised at Cocoa cemetery

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A grave in disrepair at the Hilltop cemetery in Cocoa has some residents alarmed.

Dominica Midkiff says her husband stumbled upon the grave during a stroll at the historical site and couldn’t believe what he saw. “

Being it’s Memorial Day weekend, he decided to take a stroll. Upon his strolling, he found an open crypt.”

Her husband notified police and then the city of Cocoa, who came out and covered the open crypt with a tarp. The city owns the land but says it’s up to the family of the deceased to maintain the plot.

“But what if you don’t have family? What if you don’t have anybody? Or what if someone, like me, doesn’t know our true roots? They’re dilapidated. They need care,” Midkiff tells FOX 35.

The Hilltop is an African American cemetery established in 1877 and named a historical site in 1999. A spokesperson with the city says the open grave belongs to a woman named Ella Sheffield. The spokesperson say they’re working to contact her family and are getting a quote from a funeral home for the repairs. The Midkiffs say they just want to see this area treated with respect.

“The rain, the hurricane season, it’s all upon us.  It’s got to be maintained somehow. Let’s get these names on these people. They have names. Let’s get these crypts closed respectfully.”

Once Sheffield’s relatives are notified, the city will give them the quote for repairs.